Manchester United's Jose Mourinho will make his first trip back to Stamford Bridge this season on Sunday after leaving the Blues amid a chaotic 2015-16 season. It will be a conflicting set of emotions for Chelsea fans, who could go any variety of ways with how they receive the Portuguese. Do the Chelsea fans cheer Mourinho, the man that delivered glory to their club time after time? Or do they jeer Mourinho, the man that left the club not once, but twice, in disappointing fashion and now coaches their hated rivals? Whatever the Chelsea fans decide, the Portuguese is certain to elicit a loud reception. For my money, I think it will be a blend of both boos and cheers, but a majority of the fans will be warm to Mourinho. Here are reasons why either could happen.
Manchester United FC
Cheer: He bought Didier Drogba
During his first stint as Chelsea manager, one of Mourinho's first orders of business was to bring in Didier Drogba. Mou scooped the bulldozing striker from Marseille for a cool £24 million, and the Ivorian proved himself to be worth every cent. In his first season at Stamford Bridge, Drogba helped Chelsea claim their first league title. Drogba took some time to adjust in his first two seasons at Stamford Bridge, but still scored 16 goals per season across all competitions. Three seasons into his Chelsea career, he was scoring at double that clip. He tallied 33 in all competitions and scored 20 for the Premier League's Golden Boot from 2006-07.
Mourinho's departure after that season didn't sit well with Drogba, but he remained with the Blues. Even without "The Special One" around, Drogba continued to grow as a Chelsea legend. By the time Drogba finally hung up his boots with the Blues (including a return stint during Mourinho's second term), he had etched his name into the Chelsea record books. He left the club with 164 total goals, good for fourth on Chelsea's all-time list. His penalty to seal Chelsea's first-ever Champions League crown won't soon be forgotten. But his legacy at Chelsea all begins with Mourinho plucking him from Marseille.
Boo: He sold the likes of Kevin de Bruyne
Mourinho returned to Chelsea in June 2013 to great fanfare among Chelsea faithful. But with every manager change comes an overhaul of the squad. While Mourinho did well to bring in a slew of quality players in his Chelsea career, he cut bait on a lot of budding stars. Taking over for embattled interim manager Rafa Benitez, Mourinho did a house cleaning. In one fell swoop, he deemed players like Kevin de Bruyne and Juan Mata (Chelsea's two-time Player of the year) surplus to requirements. The promise of a young attacking band featuring that duo, Eden Hazard and Oscar evaporated. Young striker Romelu Lukaku was sent packing a season later.
The implications of the sales of those players are all speculative, as the funds from those players were used to buy other players, but the general opinion is that the bulk of them were misguided sales. De Bruyne now plays for rivals Manchester City and is regarded as one of the Premier League's blossoming players. Juan Mata has found himself again under Mourinho's charge at United, but remains as creative a player as there is in the league. Lukaku, still just age 23, has 66 career Premier League goals in 156 appearances. Chelsea have survived without the players that Mourinho offloaded, but it's crazy to think what heights they could have reached if they were able to stick.
Cheer: He's Chelsea's best-ever manager
Prior to Mourinho's arrival, Chelsea hadn't won the top flight in half a century. Along with owner Roman Abramovic, Mourinho is responsible for completely transforming the west London club. They won back-to-back Premier League titles during his first run with the club, and again when he returned in 2014-15. More than just trophies, though, Mourinho brought a change in mentality to Chelsea. Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea were be deemed "The Big Four" of the Premier League during the 2000s.
The Blues won the occasional domestic cup and title here or there in their long history, but didn't have the silverware expectation that exists today. Post Mourinho, Chelsea and their fans expect to compete for trophies each and every season. The number of trophies that Chelsea earned under Mourinho gave them that confidence. Three EPL titles, three League Cups, an FA Cup and Community Shield all feature on the shelf under Mourinho's watch.
Boo: He joined Manchester United
Ever since Sir Alex Ferguson left Manchester United, Mourinho's name was attached to the United position. Mourinho was measured when speaking about his appointment, saying, "it is not a dream job, it is reality," but come on. Sir Alex set the gold standard for managerial success. Mourinho would never publicly compare himself to the man, but if there's one man that could think he'd be able to fill those shoes, it's probably Mou. He is "The Special One," after all.
As far as it goes for Chelsea fans, it's a bitter pill to swallow. Not once, but twice, they envisioned Mourinho being their version of a Sir Alex. To be fair, Mourinho had all the makings of delivering on that ... at least in terms of promise. But the marriage dissolved once and the second time also wasn't the charm, so Chelsea fans had to shelve that dream. Seeing Mourinho on any sideline at Stamford Bridge other than the home side's is always a bit jarring, but they've seen it before. Seeing him with the hated crest of Manchester United on his chest, though, could conjure up the vitriol.